Episode 35 : Why You Won’t Record Your Life Story

by Ian

in Genealogy, Motivation, Podcast

A Life Story – For most it’s only, a Great Idea!

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Everyone I tell about Create Your Life Story say what a great idea it is, then something like, ” I wish I had have recorded my Gran, she had so many wonderful experiences in her life.” Then depending on who they are, something about…

  • The young kids today have no idea of how it was in my time
  • I need to talk to my Dad he did…
  • I’m the last person with this family knowledge, I need to get it recorded before I go
  • We had better get his memories before we miss them
  • I wish I had have recorded my youth, I’ve forgotten so much
  • I’ve had such an amazing life, I should share it with others
  • Her memory is now gone and I missed the opportunity.

I’ve heard all these reasons for why it’s a good idea to record a Life Story biography. Everyone gets all sentimental and start to talk about someone in their family who they miss and should have recorded. Mentioning some grand adventure or period of time. They talk with fondness of how they wish they had or how they need to act now but then I know they won’t.

Life Story Reward is in giving

You may never see a return on you investment …via Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

It’s easier to do nothing, then have regret.

The pay-off for taking action

Everyone knows of the benefits later but why should they act now? I’ve been wondering why that is.

Why are there so few sites on the Internet mentioning the idea of recording Life Stories either in text, video or audio? Yes there are some but compared to Genealogy with 270 million search results, Life Stories only have 3.4 million. This got me thinking.

There are many other things we care about before we care about recording a Life Story. As an example we can search on the Internet to see how popular they are. Things like:

  • Weight loss
  • Dating advice
  • Money in all it’s forms from a employment to gambling
  • Sex in all it’s variations
  • Career
  • Entertainment from music and films to sports and trivia
  • Recreations including activities and crafts like scrap-booking cooking and genealogy

All these activities achieve or promise one of two things

  1. Make life better now or in the future
  2. Remove a discomfort now or in the future

As an example genealogical research specifically recognises there is some missing information (discomfort) and resolves that issue with the discovery of new information (pleasure) all the while creating an entertaining distraction and recreation.

The addictive quality of many activities (as is the case with genealogy), is the more you dig, the more there is to be discovered and when you break through an impasse, the feeling of achievement is wonderful, making all the head banging worthwhile. Family can then gather around in wonder of the story that is unfolding, creating in you a feeling of satisfaction from the compliments you receive.

What you don’t get from producing a Life Story

With a Life Story you don’t get the same sense of achievement like in the world of genealogy. There is no banging your head against the wall of misinformation. You don’t have to spend hours struggling against insurmountable odds and the person is available to talk to, so big deal. There is no pay-off.

There is no sense of grand achievement! That’s actually a problem. Not having those struggles and ultimately the pay-off from overcoming them along with still having the person to talk to is an issue and a lack of motivation for recording a Life Story.

Your pay-off for recording your own Life Story

You’re aware that you have knowledge and it’s worth sharing. The difficulty is people may not appreciate it at present so you won’t have a reward for all the effort you put in. Why should they take the time to listen to the recordings now, they can just talk to you about the things they want to.

They will appreciate it in time, much as you would be happy to discover your grandmothers diary and photos but she will never know that. Your reward has to be magnanimous, knowing that now is not the time for people to appreciate it. People will take your Life Story for granted, as it’s here now and they can ask you anytime they like, so there is no big deal. That will not always be the case.

What you get from recording another’s Life Story

Your personal reward for recording someone else will be satisfying a level of curiosity about topics that you’ve wondered about but that can also be achieved by just having a discussion about specific topics. Your main pay-off for the effort will be from the individual who you record. They will feel appreciated in ways that are rare today but beyond that, there will only be superficial interest from others.

There will be a real pay-off later but that will hopefully be many years away, so for the moment there is no immediate return on the investment of time and effort and by the time it does arrive your need for motivation is no longer required.

There is always more time

Complacency and lack of urgency is the most difficult to overcome. We always have more time to meet up and get the Life Story recorded and there are always other, more urgent things to get done.

If you knew that you had one week, you would act, then by the skin of your teeth you would feel rewarded for your efforts in getting it done just in time. However with no urgency once you decide to produce a Life Story there is no reward as they are still here. It’s not until they pass, that your efforts will be appreciated.

No one cares until it’s too late

Capturing a Life Story as a biography or autobiography, in text, audio or video is a project that we all know is worthwhile. We can see the benefits as we have all lost someone but it’s not an activity that gives us a satisfactory return as we would get from building something or assembling information like a genealogy history. There is no bonding around the item, appreciating how life is now richer in some way. There is no appreciation that makes the effort worth while in the short term because there is no loss or pain. The person is there to talk to so there is no urgency.

It’s all rather anti-climatic.

Will you record a Life Story?

The people who take on the task of starting to recording a Life Story as a memoir realise that there is no immediate pay-off for doing it. If you do record a Life Story you will have to

  • Work individually being shown minimal interest
  • Know you may never see other’s appreciation
  • Notice awkwardness in others about the topic
  • Need to be generous in giving of yourself
  • Know that it will be cherished one day
  • Work for a benefit that you may never see

These lack of immediate benefits are what creates the complacency and lack of focus to overcome the challenges. It all seems too hard without a reward to help motivate us.

The benefits are insubstantial but last forever

The person who achieves a Life Story project either of themselves or of someone else will be more like a great painter who was never appreciated in his own time but cherished later. Much like Vivian Maier, you will be creating something for yourself, knowing that is enough and anything that comes from it will be later, much later. Maybe you’ll see the rewards, maybe not. But you know that the returns will be part of history.

Many of things that drive us have quick and easy rewards to remove the pain and give the pleasure but like sex or food we are always hungry again soon. A Life Story satisfies in much richer ways than just a quick fix.

Are you motivated enough to Create A Life Story. Comment below and mention your thoughts

    Record or Write, Your or My Life Story Biography

    Click thu to iTunes

For a general overview get the e-Book Recording Life Stories. Just sign up for it in the side bar form.

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Music is from

Tony Guerrero
“Carumba”
“Dizzy Does It”
from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

*************************************Double/Seperate tracks Ioda Links Below ************************************

Tony Guerrero
“Carumba”
from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

Tony Guerrero
“Dizzy Does It”
from “Blue Room”
(Charleston Square Recordings)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

************************************************************************
Jeremy Cohen
“Rose Room” (mp3)
from “Jeremy Cohen: Violin Jazz”
(Violinjazz Recordings)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

Happy TalkKermit Ruffins
“Panama” (mp3)
from “Happy Talk”
(Basin Street)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

Jeremy Cohen
“Sweet Georgia Brown” (mp3)
from “Jeremy Cohen: Violin Jazz”
(Violinjazz Recordings)

Buy at Napster
Buy at iTunes Music Store
More On This Album

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